American Nocturne

From Wind Repertory Project
Steve Danyew

Steve Danyew

General Info

Year: 2021
Duration: 7:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Steve Danyew
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $169.99; (digital) - $169.99   |   Score Only (print) - $50.00 x


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II (both div.)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (I div.)
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II (both div.)
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba (div.)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Conga
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Tom-toms (3)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

About 10 years before writing this piece, I was reflecting on my experience playing saxophone in my middle school jazz band, where I first learned to play jazz. Our director started each rehearsal with a simple blues scale exercise that taught us not only about the blues scale, but also how to improvise. I decided that I wanted to write a piece of music using the blues scale, and as I began coming up with musical ideas for the piece, I felt like the music sounded like trains. That piece became Magnolia Star, named for a train that traveled between New Orleans and Chicago in the mid 20th century.

A few years later, I decided that perhaps I could write a trilogy of pieces that were inspired by the blues scale and trains, and I set out to create more material from these ideas. After writing Magnolia Star in 2011/2012, I created Green Diamond in 2018/2019. Now with American Nocturne in 2021, I have completed the trilogy of pieces which all reach back to this important experience early in my music education.

As a composer, so much of what I create today is informed by music that I have been exposed to by music teachers and my parents. My parents nurtured my interest in music by encouraging my improvisations at the piano, playing music in our home regularly, and providing me with instruments, private lessons, and more. And my music teachers inspired me, encouraged me, and helped me grow as a musician. I will forever be thankful for them.

"Nocturne” refers to a musical work written about the night, and therefore I thought it would be an appropriate word to use in the title for this piece, written about a nighttime train ride. And I included "American” in the title as a nod to the influence of jazz and blues on this piece. Jazz is a truly American art form, having emerged in New Orleans before spreading to other jazz centers like Chicago.

American Nocturne was commissioned in 2021 by the Rocky Mountain Commissioning Project, led by Alan Mills and Colorado State University-Pueblo. The piece depicts a nighttime train ride from the jazz capital of New Orleans north to Chicago, incorporating the blues scale and train-like driving rhythms.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, Penn.) Symphony Band (Zach Cheever, conductor) - 8 October 2023
  • Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Shaun Popp, conductor) - 20 April 2023
  • National Concert Band of America (Alexandria, Va.) (Adrian Holton, conductor) - 11 December 2022
  • Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond) Wind Symphony (Robert M. Schwartz, conductor) - 5 May 2022
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.) Collegiate Band (David M. Blon, conductor) - 22 April 2022
  • Colorado State University-Pueblo Wind Ensemble (Alan W. Mills, conductor) - 12 February 2022 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works